Nagorno-Karabakh says 18 of its civilians killed in fighting with Azerbaijan

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Eighteen Nagorno-Karabakh civilians were killed by fire from Azeri forces and more than 90 were wounded in the past week, RIA Novosti news agency cited an official in the breakaway region as saying on Sunday.

The fighting began last Sunday and has surged to its worst level since the 1990s, when some 30,000 people were killed. They have raised international concern about stability in the South Caucasus, where pipelines carry Azeri oil and gas to world markets.

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Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev demanded on Sunday that Armenia set a timetable for withdrawing from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding Azeri territories, and said Azerbaijan would not cease military action until that happened.

Earlier on Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for an immediate ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh and said Moscow was ready to help seek a solution to the conflict via the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The conflict threatens to drag in other regional powers as Azerbaijan is supported by Turkey, while Armenia has a defense pact with Russia.

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